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Postbac Seminar Series: May 17, 2018

Series: Science Skills; Speaking

May 17, 2018

This event is recommended for: Postbacs.

Science isn't complete until the results have been shared with others, and talking about your results is one of the important ways of making them public. The Postbac Seminar Series provides a unique opportunity for two Postbacs each month to present their research to a diverse audience of their peers.  The atmosphere is relatively informal and non-threatening.  The series allows Postbacs who attend to learn about the different types of biomedical research being conducted at the NIH while meeting other postbacs.  Read more about the seminar series.

This month's presenters are:

Jackie Minehart, NEI

Title: smORFs in Photoreceptors Lead to New Insights on Characterizing Non-coding RNA

Summary: As new non-coding (nc) RNAs are discovered and functionally evaluated, more careful categorization is needed to avoid neglecting the coding potential in these transcripts. Long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs) have potential to house small open reading frames (smORFs) capable of producing biologically active proteins which may be overlooked in molecular biology studies due to their small size. We establish a method for detecting lncRNAs containing smORFs using RNA-seq and mass spectrometry to curate a list of transcripts with neglected coding potential. In a functional analysis of one candidate discovered in rod photoreceptors, we find that the previously annotated lncRNA indeed codes for a small yet stable protein with likely importance in retinal genetic regulation. Our results urge the importance of thorough analysis when categorizing newly discovered ncRNA and present the possibility that previously categorized ncRNAs may indeed have hidden protein coding potential.

Bio: Jackie has a BS in Biology from Towson University, 2016. She has worked as an NEI postbac since October 2016 and will be attending University of Maryland as a PhD student August 2018.


Christa Ventresca, NICHD

Title: The Gene HDAC6 and its Effect on Drosophila Metabolism and Stress Response

Summary: The TORC1 complex regulates metabolism within eukaryotes by responding to many upstream signals, one of them being nutrient availability. TORC1 is a master regulator of metabolic function and promotes anabolic metabolism while inhibiting catabolic metabolism. TORC1 is inhibited by GATOR1, which in turn is inhibited by GATOR2. Recently the lab completed a screen for genes that interact with the GATOR2 complex. We identified genes that when co-depleted with seh1, a component of GATOR2, suppressed the low growth phenotype, indicating their involvement in this pathway. One of the genes identified in this screen was histone deacetylase 6 (HDAC6). Previously HDAC6 has been shown to play a role in deacetylating alpha-tubulin, causing its conformation to change from stable to dynamic. HDAC6 has also been shown to deacetylate HSP83, leading to stress granule formation. Our results confirm that this is a real rescue, and that the possible mechanism of this rescue is through HDAC6's role in stress granule formation.
Bio: Christa graduated from Vassar College with a B.A. in biology in 2017. Since then she has been working in the Lilly Lab at NICHD studying the fascinating fruit flies and their genetics. She hopes to attain a MD/PhD in the future.

Bio: Christa graduated from Vassar College with a B.A. in biology in 2017. Since then she has been working in the Lilly Lab at NICHD studying the fascinating fruit flies and their genetics. She hopes to attain a MD/PhD in the future.


Kelsey Bullock, NIA

Title: Hyperinsulinemic Euglycemic Clamps: The Gold Standard to Measure Glucose Uptake and Insulin Sensitivity

Summary: The glucose clamp technique was first described in 1979 by De Fronzo, Tobin and Andres at Yale University School of Medicine and the Laboratory of Clinical Physiology, National Institute on Aging (NIA). It has since become the clinical gold standard for the assessment of beta cell sensitivity to glucose and whole-body insulin sensitivity in vivo. This presentation will cover the two main types of glucose clamps: hyperglycemic clamps and hyperinsulinemic euglycemic clamps and the use of radiolabeled tracers to measure organ-specific glucose uptake. Additionally, we will provide examples from on-going projects using clamps to compare insulin sensitivity changes during aging and diet induce obesity and in transgenic mice.

Bio: Kelsey received a B.S. in Biology from the University of California Los Angeles in 2013. She then completed a M.S. in Environmental Health at Western Kentucky University before joining the NIA in 2016. She currently is a postbaccalaureate IRTA in the Translational Gerontology Branch at the NIA in Rafael de Cabo's lab, and plans to apply to Ph.D. programs in the fall.